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Monthly for school and families



The best present in 2005

Happy School


My self-image – who am I, what do I think about myself?

Recent events


Castro's miraculous operations President DrnovĹĄek is searching for solutions for Darfur

Introduction of people


Rabindranath Tagore

The Movies


Hotel Ruanda

Our Planet


The world in 2006

Healthy Food


Healing properties of food Potato pizza

Readers' letters


E-monthly is published by Association For a Better world. More information:

January 2006


Monthly for school and families

The best present in 2005 Now is a time of reflection when we look back over the past twelve months – on a personal level, what have we done in the previous year, what was successful and what wasn't. On a national and international level, it is a time for judging who was the best actress, sportsperson, what was the best TV show, etc. In this vein, the authors of The Association for a Better World would like to nominate the parents of Ahmed Khatib to receive the award for the most forgiving gesture of 2005. Ahmed, a 12 year old Palestinian boy, was shot dead with a bullet to the back of the head by Israelis soldiers in the Jenin refugee camp. Israeli soldiers have shot Palestinian children before. Usually, in such cases, the Palestinian people do not even receive an apology from the Israeli government and they cry for vengeance. However, in this particular case, Ahmed's parents made the decision that they would like to donate their son's organs to an Israeli hospital. They wished Ahmed's organs to be given to whichever children needed them, regardless of whether they were Christian, Muslim or Jew. Ahmed's mother said, »I never wanted my son to suffer and I would not want any child to suffer regardless of their religion. It is an appropriate time now to stop building pointless barriers between each other. The main point that we all need to realize is that we are all human beings. And if the death of our loving son will contribute one step towards this awareness, it is more than enough.« This heroic act of foregiveness has touched the heart of even the traditionally reserved and anti-Palestinian media. Ahmed's mother has become a celebrity. A government representative, Ehud Olmert said, »I was deeply touched by this compassionate act. I am shocked.« The Orthodox Jewish parents of one of the children who was a recipient of Ahmed's organ donation and whose life was thus saved, went to Jenin refugee camp to express their thanks. I too was deeply touched by this story. A mother has been left without her son yet she has been able to forgive her enemies. I am a child of rich parents and every year I was given extremely expensive presents. But in all my 42 years, none of my presents can compare to the beautiful feelings of love, hope, humility and respect that this act of forgiveness has given rise to. As one of the authors of our e-mail monthly magazine, I would really like to nominate Ahmed's mother for an award for this exceptional ct of forgiveness. Happy New Year 2006. Goran

January 2006 1

Monthly for school and families This song one day shed a light of hope on a wall of an orphanage in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

To you and to me I wish eyes, Which would recognize and realize a secret. To you and to me I wish a mouth, Which would praise and not accuse, Would build and not destroy, Which would wonder at and not reproach, Would encourage and not blame, a Mouth that wouldn't need to have the last word. To you and to me I wish ears To hear the tender voice of conscience. To you and to me I wish hands, Which would like to give unconditionally, Which would be able to accept And would receive a present as well. To you and to me I wish legs, Which would always respond to a first step, As many times as needed they would search the way towards helpings others. To you and to me I wish a soul, deep and wide enough, A Spirit that gives unimagined magnitude. To you and to me I wish a heart, That would rather be hurt than cruel, That knows how to forget and forgive, Tender and alive. To you and to me I wish a will, Which is good and is striving for good, despite all evil. A Will which gives support in this ever-lasting race of the world. To you and to me I wish trust in Him on each and every occasion. Unknown author

January 2006 2

Happy school

Monthly for school and families

My self-image – who am I, what do I think about myself? Our life depends mostly on how we feel inside ourselves, what we think about our inner self, whether we accept and trust ourselves, in sum – on our selfesteem… Many have an influence on this – genetic predisposition, social skills, our tendency and ability to reach a goal, family, friends, teachers and all sorts of other factors within our environment. Therefore there are many factors on which we don't have any influence but at the same time there are some that we can change. What I have in my mind is our inner tendency, wish and will to learn, develop and change inside to become better. Our self-confidence or self-image are definitely not static. Some people incorrectly say that a positive self-image is a » gift from God » You are simply born with it or you aren't. Self-confidence is a human quality which can- as all others can as well- change, develop and grow! There are many ways in which we can develop and achieve more regardless of our level of confidence at the moment. Undoubtedly we have to invest in a lot of work, creativity, learning, searching…This is a life-long process. This is my message for all students. I offer you a method for organizing a programme to improve and maintain in a state of health your self-esteem and self-confidence. Introductory activity We project on the board (or read loudly ) these sentences and ask students what will we talk about. Every bird sings according to the type of beak nature gave it. (Slovene saying) We know who we are but we don't know what we can become. (William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English dramatist) The greatest evil that a man can do to himself is to allow a bad thought about himself (Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749 - 1832), German writer) Realize who you are and you will realize the whole universe. (Inscription in Delphi)

January 2006 3

Monthly for school and families Questionnaire: What is my self-image like? Goals: realizing your self-image, becoming aware of your strong and weak characteristics. In this exercise you will realize more about your self-image – what do you think about yourself, about others, how much do you believe in yourself and in others, to what extent do you really know yourself. You will see your weak and strong characteristics. Read all statements and encircle YES if it is correct for you, and NO if it isn't. There are no true or false answers, in this way you will just get to know yourself better. If you are honest, you will realize many interesting and useful things. Physical safety YES NO I like my home and I feel safe in it. YES NO My parents are bringing me up in a spirit of non-violence, justice and respect. YES NO I am not afraid of anyone in my surrounding or on my way to school. YES NO In the school I feel that I am safe and nobody is threatening me (none of my peers or other friends). Emotional safety YES NO I believe and trust in myself. YES NO I can speak about myself, my problems and emotions. YES NO I don't percieve my mistakes are tragic ones I believe that I learn from my mistakes. I know that I will do it better next time. YES NO When I do something good, I am satisfied and proud of myself. YES NO I know that I can't do everything perfectly. YES NO I know how to deal with stress. YES NO My character is optimistic – I know that I will experience beautiful things. YES NO I don't like to speak bad things about other people. YES NO I never deliberately make fun out of others, I try not to hurt anybody.

January 2006 4

Monthly for school and families Identity – who am I? YES NO I feel good inside myself. YES NO I like my appearance – my face and my body. YES NO I like my personality. YES NO I am happy. YES NO When somebody is praising me or pays me a compliment, I simply thank him/her. YES NO Only rarely, do I wish I was somebody else. YES NO Rarely do I think I would have more friends if I had more money or things, for example clothes or DVDs. YES NO I am aware of my qualities. I know what is my strongest point. Friendship - Socialisation YES NO I have got at least one good friend. YES NO If I need help, I can always find someone who would like to help me. YES NO When I promise something people know that they can rely on me. YES NO I am happy when my friends experience something nice. YES NO I don't feel threatened even when someone is making fun of me. YES NO Other peers at school are happy to be in my company. YES NO I like socializing with people. I feel relaxed and open in people's company. YES NO If somebody has a different opinion it doesn't disturb me. YES NO When I see that someone around me has done something well, I am happy to acknowledge it. Competency – I know that I can do it YES NO I am convinced that a man can succeed if he/she sets their mind on a goal and really does his/her best himself/herself to acheive it. YES NO I know how to organize my time. YES NO I am capable enough to acheive what I want. YES NO I ask other people to help me when I need it. YES NO I am solving my problems gradually, step by step. YES NO I am able to make the right decisions. YES NO I know how to listen to other people and how to express my own opinion as well. YES NO I am aware that I can't always do everything perfectly.

January 2006 5

Monthly for school and families Mission, true meaning YES NO My life has its meaning and I have goals that I am going to achieve. YES NO It depends only on myself whether I am going to be successful or not. YES NO I know what I would like to achieve in my life. YES NO I am happy with my life at the moment but at the same time I am looking forward to the future. YES NO I am interested in many things. Results In the area where there are mostly positive answers a child is strong. This is an area where his self-image is good. It is normal that we aren't strong in all areas. Sections with mainly negative answers mean that this can be a schoolchild's weak area. And what can we do about it? We have to explain to children that these »gray areas« are exactly the places where we can progress and develop the most. Things which hurt and bother us will always push us forward – towards overcoming our own limits and going beyond our borders. And this is today very popularly called »personal growth«. Stammering When Demosten was a little boy he used to stammer. He was unsure of himself and was often the butt of mockery and offensive words. One day he was fed up with his habit and he decided to get rid of it. He began to practise every single day. On the beach where waves were smashing into the rocks, he was trying to shout and to be louder than the sea with small stones in his mouth. He would practising for hours and hours…days and weeks and months…He would speak loudly and clearly, repeating words and thoughts again and again. And he succeeded! He got rid of his stammer and not only this – later on he became one of the greatest Roman rhetoricians who is widely know all around the world. Let's talk: • What does this story tell us? What does it show? (It proves that people have one beaufitul characteristic: an ability to change and develop, an ability to overcome our bad habits and mistakes.) • Explain the statement: Obstacles are our greatest chances. (If Demosten hadn't had a stammer, he wouldn't have put so much effort into curing it and wouldn't have become that great rhetorician. Maybe he would have just stayed an ordinary and average man. But now he inspires us after 2000 years!) • Of course things don't just happen by themselves. What did he do in order to be successful?

January 2006 6

Monthly for school and families • And you, what do you do with a mistake if you notice it in your life? (Do you feel sorry for yourself, do you feel guilty, do you feel inferior to the others – or are you trying to do your best to solve a problem?) Who am I – drawing or using different techniques of painting Goals: to become aware of your self-image, expressing some individual characteristics. Each child has to represent himself/herself on a large sheet of paper. He has to represent his inner characteristics, desires, expectations and goals. They will need colour pencils and different magazines. They should write main words under the chosen pictures. After they finish they should present their products to their group, some of them can present their product to the whole class. (Teachers should take into account that these descriptions are personal and only those who are willing to should present it to everyone in the class. If nobody want's to do it, the teacher can stimulate them with his/her presentation.) I can do that – searching for positive characteristics – exercise Goals: development of positive self-image. Everyone should choose two positive characteristics that he/she appreciates and describe both of them in front of a group. Homework: Try to think of any inconvenient characteristic. Every day try to do something which is the opposite of that characteristic. - If you are afraid of speaking in public – when you find the first opportunity, say something, whether it is wise or not. (If you don't have problems with speaking in public, choose something else; there is no point if the greatest chatterbox in a class does it!) - If you consider yourself not to be very sociable – start to talk to someone you woudn't usually talk to. - If you think that you are talking too much – try to stay silent and listen to the people around you. Who knows, you might learn something new! Think about a field where you feel inferior and unsuccessful. Breath deeply and say to yourself: »So what! It is not the end of the world!« And don't forget: if you can change anything, try to do it and don't worry. If you can't do anything about it then it is again not worth worrying about. Isn't that right? Darja

January 2006 7

Recent events

Monthly for school and families

Castro's miraculous operations In the capital of Cuba, Havana, more than 10 tourist hotels have been closed. In those hotels accommodation has been provided for different guests – for blind people. In Cuba they have began to perform operation Miracle, which is a philanthropic programme, endeavouring to return the eyesight of more than six million people. Operations will be provided free of charge. Leader of Cuba Fidel Castro and Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez started to spread this bright idea between people. Therefore in Cuba, many planes land every day that are full of blind people from all around Latin America, who wouldn't be able to pay for this operation by themselves. Mostly patients with cataracts and similar curable diseases are hospitalized. Cuba is in charge of the medical operations whereas Venezuela provides the financial backingmoney from their income from their oil industry.

President Drnovšek is searching for solutions for Darfur Slovene president Janez Drnovšek has suggested a humanitarian project for Sudan's Darfur province. Circumstances in Darfur are getting worse and worse because of the war between Chad and Sudan and the crisis is getting deeper every single day. A camp for 10.000 refugees needs to be built there. He announced that in order to sort out this problem he will call Presidents and General Secretaries of the world's biggest organizations. Drnovšek is warning that circumstances in this Sudanse province are alarming and that they don't allow indifference and inconsistency from the International Community. His opinion is that responsible people should organize themselves and provide effective humanitarian help for the affected people. At the same time any form of violence concerning civilians has to be stopped immediately. He warned us as well that violence is a phenomenon that is spreading with more and more people being killed, raped, and murdered. They are moving out of this western Sudanese province and there is an increasing number of infectious diseases. »Because of violence, robbing of humanitarian convoys, poisoning of food and water, representatives of the UN and other humanitarian organizations are leaving this area even though they would like to help people. Without humanitarian help there are approx. 300.000 people, as it is unofficially estimated by data collected by humanitarian organizations, mostly women and children at grave risk.« Drnovšek warns. News collected by Aleš.

January 2006 8

Introduction of people

Monthly for school and families

Rabindranath Tagore They say that poetry is the language of the soul. Language was given to man at the right moment. That is why poets have always had an important task within society, because poetry represents a place of connection between man and a higher reality. They experienced and wrote about things that ordinary people could only dream about. One of them is the Indian writer, poet and philosopher Tagore.

»I was sleeping and dreaming that life was joy. I woke up and saw that life is service. Than as I worked, I noticed that service is joy.«

Rabindranath Tagore was a very fruitful writer. The variety, quality and number of his works is amazing. He wrote in Bengali, but later on he translated many of his writings into English. He wrote much more than many writers. He wrote more than 150.000 verses(6000 pages in a book); he published them in more than fifty collections. For many of his songs, he composed the musical accompaniment as well. He wrote more than thirty texts in prose; nearly fifteen novels, more than one hundred tales and short stories, to all that we have to add many travel diaries, essays, articles on social and educational questions, memoirs, lectures, aphorisms, epigrams, thoughts and reports. For his poetical collection Gitanđali, he received a Nobel prize in 1913; in it there are mostly religious, mystic and philosophical meditations in dialogue with a God of life. Tagore's religious lyrics are based on his personal experience when life was shown to him as a gift of God's love. In his view of faith, man needs God as well as God needs man. Tagore doesn't acknowledge a duality between the senses and spirituality, between body and soul. He was one of the rare examples who was able to comprehend the beauty of nature and the world. At the same time he added to this a feeling of peaceful, passionate and selective expression. Rabindranath Tagore was a genius, a giant of humanity, who was inspired by traditional India to the same extent as by modern western cultures. He was able to advocate for spiritual qualities and the oneness of humanity.

January 2006 9

Monthly for school and families Tagore's life He was born on 6th.May 1861 in Calcutta to a landed proprietor's family. He showed an exceptional talent for creative writing when he was only eight years old. Since then he started to fill one notebook after another with verses. Later on he started to publish essays and critical pieces as well. He published his first collection Morning's song when he was only twenty years old. When he was thirteen he left school and started to study literature with tutors at home. Then, when he was in England for a year and a half he spent more time on literature than law which he was supposed to be studying as his father wished him to do. Early in his life he was confronted by contradictions. He was born into the highest cast of brahmans and all his life he challenged the social injustice of the caste system; born into wealth, all his life he championed the rights of the poor. Educated in the Bengali language, culture and spirit, he embraced and used the european treasury as a source of knowledge as well as adding many new ideas to it; without any formal education he established a school and university by himself and he became one of the greatest teachers for his nation and all humanity. In his essays, he wrote a lot about the unbearable conditions of life in the Indian countryside; child marriages, the caste system, loss of rights of widows, cheap labour and usury. Tagore wasn't deprived of any material goods, he was rich. But in his personal life he wasn't happy even though he was shiningly successful on a professional level as a writer and public benefactor. He was traditionally very attached to his family but his wife died after nineteen years of living together. Soon after her, three of his five children died as well. In this period he withdrew into solitude and contemplation and this made him even more prolific and energetic when he came back. In his poetry he wrote mostly about religion at that time. In the middle of this period he got a Nobel prize for a collection of songs entitled Gitandzali and this expanded his reputation from Bengal to a worldwide audience. For more than twenty years, he mostly travelled around Europe, America and Asia. On these travels he tried to make a bridge between European and Indian culture, propagating humanistic ideas, striving for peace and understanding between nations and collecting funds for educational purposes. During this successful period, the English government affectionately referred to him as Sir. Tagore expressed deep respect for Âťgreat mindsÂŤ such as Albert Einstein and Gandhi with whom he met many times and shared their similar thoughts.

January 2006 10

Monthly for school and families »If you close the door for all mistakes, the truth will stay outside.« »We don't pray for protection against danger but for fearlessness when it comes.« Tagore and Einstein Later on he was strongly against racism and fascism. He was not alone in this view in India but his voice was especially outspoken. He was persistently striving to improve public education and he established a school near Calcutta. Relating to his personal experience his opinion was that the current school system was completely ineffective. Undoubtedly Tagore was a great poet with a rich sensitivity of expression, extraordinarily gifted in philosophy, especially in the philosophy of religion. He defended a belief that faith shouldn't be narrow but should be as wide as the sky. For Tagore God isn’t someone aloof but strongly connected with man. For him God is infinite and eternal, beyond space and time but at the same time the source of human life and the source of real meaning in life. He rejected as well the strongly emphasized Indian propensity for ascetism and renunciation and at the same time Western greediness for joy and material possessions – to both sides he offered the alternative of a spiritualized life in the world. His works are like signposts in the direction of the divine appropriate for people from East and West because they give answers to basic human questions. Questions about transitoriness, nature, beauty, happiness and searching for the meaning of this life. These are qualities which show us the correct direction and make our life »fulfilled«. Barbara

January 2006 11

The Movies

Monthly for school and families

Hotel Ruanda

The film Hotel Rwanda depicts the life story of Paul Rusesabagin during fighting in Rwanda taking place in the middle of 90's. Paul enjoyed a good standard of living for African conditions. He was a successful manager of a Belgian corporation hotel. Because of his refinement and intelligence his social circle included European tourists, UN soldiers and higher ranking officers of the Rwanda's army. Paul belonged origin to the Hutu tribe but his wife came from the Tutsi tribe. They had three children. In Rwanda there are mainly two ethnic groups: Hutu and Tutsi. In the past, the Tutsi were the dominant tribe and colonization by Belgians added to the political disharmony. Paul enjoyed good fortune until fighting started between Hutu and Tutsi. But then the Hutu police, bent on revenge and backed up by effective propaganda started to kill people from the Tutsi tribe. The Tutsi were heavily critisized on the radio. There was widespread slaughter and the streets of the capital Kigali ran with blood. The police’s main weapon was a large machete which was used brutally. People even paid large sums of money just for the privilege of being killed quickly with a handgun rather than being hacked to death by machete. What did the International Community do? Nothing. Then the Peace Forces of the United Nations bewilderingly reduced the number of troops in the area despite reports from the Red Cross of approximately one hundred thousand deaths. While international press agencies were at the time giving reports about conflicts between tribes in Rwanda, the impression was all the horror of the fighting was simply accepted by the International Community as just one more incident in the undeveloped world which didn’t even deserve any attention from the rest of the world. It should have provoked at least the outrage of the International community but it didn't. In this appalling genocide nearly one million people lost their lives while more than three million escaped to other countries, thus precipitating a refugee crisis on a massive scale. The lives of nearly one million people were sacrificed before the rest of the world took notice. The fighting was eventually stopped by Tutsi

January 2006 12

Monthly for school and families police from other countries, mostly from Uganda. The Western world was awaken after all the slaughter had finished and than a large scale humanitarian operation began. Politicians from around the world defended themselves and shouted: »Never again!« But today in Darfur, history is repeating itself and where will the next slaughter take place tomorrow? What is the value of an African life? Are one hundred African deaths equivalent to the death of one European citizen? Or are one thousand, or ten thousand Africans deaths needed? African blood is red as well. Is not the violent death of one African as outrageous as that of one European? Our Western viewpoint is crazy. Paul with his closest friends and relatives ran away and sought refuge in a hotel. As UN soldiers were being accommodated there, some Tutsis sought refuge there as well. They were looking for a safety and shelter. In the end, there were 1200 refugees staying in a hotel with the hope and expectation of intervention and protection under the UN. They didn't live to see it. After the European tourists staying in the hotel were evacuated and the number of UN soldiers decreased, they could only rely on their own limited power. Paul wanted first of all to protect his own family but he found enough courage and power in his heart to protect everyone in the hotel. I strongly recommend this film. It shows us the reality of this world. This is one aspect of our world that we don’t like to hear about because it is so sad and horrible and brings a feeling of great sorrow. Don't run away from reality. Watch this film! Aleš

Naš planet

January 2006 13

Our planet

Monthly for school and families

The world in 2006 We have now entered 2006 surrounded by people we love. We are privileged enough to be able to entertain beautiful wishes for happiness, joy, contentment, love, and the fulfilment of our personal goals, We have started the New Year with optimism, full of expectations and decided to realize our dreams. The majority of people in the developed world started the New Year with similar expectations. One part of humanity is not that blessed, to see their future with optimism. Their desires are focused on mere survival – of themselves and their relatives. These people entered the New Year full of fear, uncertain if they will be able to survive another year like the previous one – because they have a lack of food and drinking water, their shelter is collapsing, they live in areas where war is going on, and so on and on. In sum, we are in the year 2006. Whilst we were counting the last seconds of the previous year, I couldn't help myself asking what will happen in the year 2006? I was slightly pessimistic, but truthful in my answers. In the year 2006 approximately 1.5 million children will die because of lack of food and water. Because of lethal diseases that could be eradicated by vaccination, 2.6 million children will die. Around 2.8 million young people under 24 will get infected by the HIV virus. Around 120 million children will stay without any education, and remain illiterate. Around 170 million people will continue to work in conditions where there are not adequate health and safety regulations with dangerous machines and appliances in factories, mines and plantations. Around 8.4 million children will be exploited for the worst among all jobs for children, including prostitution and slavery for payment of debts. Nearly 2 million children will be used in the sex trade where they will be faced with both sexual and physical violence on a daily basis. As a consequence of pollution and the global warming of our atmosphere, there will be many climate changes including natural catastrophes which will affect children as well. Focal crisis points in Palestine, Iraq, Afganistan, Sudan (Darfur) and other points in the world will demand new innocent victims including children.

January 2006 14

Monthly for school and families

Despite all these sobering facts that are part of our world, you and me are part of that world also and we can do something about it. It is sad that these facts and figures are regular companions of each and every New Year. There are almost no changes, in some areas there are gradual improvements but in other areas the situation is deteriorating. It looks like we have become accustomed to it and we saccept these terrible statistics as part of our everyday life. The statistics illustrate that every year millions of children are marked by death due to diseases for which their parents cannot afford appropriate medicines. Children have their childhood stolen from them as they must work 8 – 12 hours daily in order to help their families to survive, without any opportunity for education. Or it is stolen from them in another way when they lose their dreams and innocence when their virginity is shamelessly taken from them by force. In inner pain and confusion such children ask: »Why is this world like this? Why can't I simply be a child and live? Why don't I have the opportunity to show what I can do?« This world can be different! In this world children should stay only children, they are not guilty for any of the circumstances described above and they shouldn't therefore be victims of it. Every one of us would like to live in a world where peace, love, friendship, tolerance, justice, respect, and support for each reign. I ask myself if we are able to create a different world when there are so many injustices done to children every year globally. I believe so. These children will grow up one day, at least some of them. Their hearts may not be full of justice and love as we would like. Their hearts might be angry. Angry because they have grow up in the middle of a world which has simply watched their sad destiny. I hope that the opposite will happen; that we will be able, with smaller and bigger steps, to create a better world, full of justice and abundance for everyone. Aleš

January 2006 15

Healthy food

Monthly for school and families

Healing properties of food People have used food since antiquity to heal, prevent diseases and maintain health. Egyptians appreciated the value of lentils which purify the mind, ancient people from Rome and Greece used honey to heal wounds, Chinese healed many diseases like constipation and dropsy with cereals and legumes. In the time of the industrial revolution, western civilization neglected the healing potential of different foods but in last couple of years, more and more interest has grown in this field. This interest has been stimulated by scientists from different areas because as there is much research going on about the quality of foods that we use and our feeding habits; the main object of this research is to maintain health. Unfortunately, the food and drink that we consume is not always beneficial to our health. Much research has confirmed the positive effect on our health of a diet full of fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains supported by a moderate quantity of dairy products. It has been shown that vegetarians rarely get diseases as cancer, heart diseases, gall stones and they have less problems with digestion and obesity. We are more and more concerned about what kind of food products we use because the latest findings aren't really optimistic. The use of antibiotics is increasing, the same with different chemicals and artificial supplements, irradiation and genetic modification of products. This proportionally increases our worries. Products that are up to standard are those to which nothing has been added or taken away, where their nutritional value has not been destroyed in the production process nor chemically altered, and which don't have any noxious supplements, artificial colours or flavours. People are beginning to look for healthier and less modified products. Demand for organically grown food is increasing by 30% per year. The use of traditional methods in farming (rotation of crops and the use of natural manures) protects nature and decreases pollution of the environment. Children can develop and grow up healthier if their diet isn't based on burgers and fries but on a balanced and diverse selection of their meals. Because they need a lot of calories and nutrients, and because their stomach is still small, they have to have smaller and nourishing meals regularly. It might sound a hackneyed phrase but the saying ÂťYou are what you eatÂŤ contains more than a seed of truth. If we eat more healthily, it isn't only improving our physical health. What we put on our plates will later on affect our emotional and spiritual feelings. If it is tasteful and attractive than even better. For the beginning of a day, I would recommend one glass of lukewarm water which stimulates the activity of the kidneys and liver, with wholegrain cereals, for example oat flakes or bran. We can consume many dry fruits which we can add to cereals, natural yoghurt or we can prepare a compote (cooked fruits). We

January 2006 16

Monthly for school and families can add lentil and beans to salads and soups. That is the way to increase the quantity of fibre in our diet. In these beautiful winter days, walking through large fields covered with snow is a real joy and pleasure for the eyes creating a pleasant effect on our inner state and feelings. After work we should try to find some time to talk to our family members and if possible try to organize our meal together and enjoy it in a peaceful environment. Because it is quite cold outside I would recommend one meal without meat but rich in cheese. After many years of experience with preparing healthy meals, I have to tell you that potato pizza is a favourite with both younger and older generations. Potato pizza (for 3 persons) Ingredients: 1 kg of potato 1 can of tomatoes 20 decagrams of cheese 3 bigger pieces of garlic parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, salt, olive oil First cut the potato into smaller thin pieces and fry them in olive oil. Add sliced tomato and juice from the can, slice the garlic into little pieces, cut the cheese into cubes and mix until the cheese melts. Than add our herbs and take care that the pan stays juicy – the tomato juice shouldn't evaporate. Put the prepared sauce in a dish which is suitable for cooking in the oven and cover it. Heat the oven to 220 degrees and bake until potato becomes soft and the top is red to brown coloured. To accompany this meal, we can offer salad with Chinese cabbage. Instead of garlic we can use leek, beans, corn and add salt, vinegar and oil. It is better if we prepare the salad one hour before we start preparing the meal so that it softens and absorbs the juice. I hope you enjoy your meal and many happy faces with this first recipe of the New Year. Lidija

January 2006 17

Readers' letters

Monthly for school and families

We will look forward to your questions, ideas and opinions. Send us an e-mail on . Please write “monthly� in the subject box. Creators of e-monthly

January 2006 18